Which games should each SEC West team win in 2015?
It’s a tradition as old as schedule releases themselves. The day the upcoming season’s schedule comes out, fans pull out their Sharpies and mark out the wins and losses on the schedule as they can best guess.
As we head into summer, it’s time for us here at SDS to do the same.
There’s still plenty we don’t know about the SEC West. Heck, half the teams in the division don’t even have their starting quarterback pinned down yet. With spring practice over, though, we have a good idea of what the division is going to look like.
With that in mind, these are our rough estimates of which games each West team should come out of with a win.
Should win: Wisconsin (9/5, AT&T Stadium), Middle Tennessee (9/12), Louisiana-Monroe (9/26), Arkansas (10/10), Tennessee (10/24), at Mississippi State (11/14), Charleston Southern (11/21)
Alabama has been favored in every game they’ve played for the last several seasons, but that might change this year. Still, the Crimson Tide will be expected to win the vast majority of their games. Some of their divisional matchups, as well as their cross-divisional showdown with Georgia, will provide real tests.
Should win: UTEP (9/5), Toledo (9/12), Texas Tech (9/19), UT Martin (10/31)
Arkansas has great potential to be an SEC spoiler, but it would be premature to think of them as true contenders until they prove it. Like last year, Arkansas will have a good chance to be in every one of their SEC games, but they’ll all be a battle. The Razorbacks’ season will hinge on whether they can win those close games; they were 0-4 in one-score contests last year.
Should win: Louisville (9/5, Georgia Dome), Jacksonville State (9/12), Mississippi State (9/26), San Jose State (10/3), at Kentucky (10/15), at Arkansas (10/24), Idaho (11/21)
The Tigers are the early favorites in the West, but that doesn’t mean their road to the title is much easier than the majority of SEC teams. They do get some of their biggest games, including Georgia and Alabama, at home. Those will still be two of the most hard-fought games on the schedule in all of the SEC.
Should win: McNeese State (9/5), at Syracuse (9/26), Eastern Michigan (10/3), at South Carolina (10/10), Florida (10/17), Western Kentucky (10/24)
LSU is always one of the toughest home teams in the conference, and many of their rivalry games — always hotly contested — come at home this fall: Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M among them. The Tigers should be improved, but only half of their games look like a sure thing.
Should win: at Southern Mississippi (9/5), Northwestern State (9/19), Troy (10/10), Louisiana Tech (10/17), Kentucky (10/24)
The Bulldogs are in for a regression after all the talent they lost, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll plummet to the bottom of the standings. MSU has Dak Prescott, though, and the star will keep them in the majority of the SEC games this fall.
Should win: UT Martin (9/5), Fresno State (9/12), Vanderbilt (9/26), at Florida (10/3), New Mexico State (10/10), at Memphis (10/17), Arkansas (11/7)
Ole Miss is going to be one of the teams in the conversation as the best team in the West all season, provided the quarterback situation is firmed up by the start of the season. The Rebels’ two cross-divisional games look to be easy ones this year, but the majority of the SEC schedule is going to be challenging, even for one of the nation’s best defenses.
Should win: Ball State (9/12), Nevada (9/19), Mississippi State (10/3), South Carolina (10/31), Western Carolina (11/14), at Vanderbilt (11/21)
Can Texas A&M rebound big in 2015? The cross-divisional games and three cupcake games will get Texas A&M close to bowl eligibility off the bat, but their opener against Arizona State will be a shootout and, of course, A&M has to contend with the rest of the West as one of the less-regarded teams in the division.